Dr. Jeannine Jordan, Concert Organist

Posts tagged ‘church music’

The Hymnody of Eastertide

The month of April encompasses four of the Sundays of Eastertide.  The music and hymnody for these services will reflect the glory of the risen Christ.  The Episcopal hymnal includes a wondrous plethora of Easter hymns, 39 to be exact. Some of that Easter hymnody includes:

Hail thee, festival day!  #175
this ancient processional hymn is derived from a sixth-century Latin poem that was handed down through the middle Ages. Though it has been adapted for nearly every feast in the church calendar, modern versions are usually customized for Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost. (www.hymnary.com)

O sons and daughters, let us sing!  #203
Not very many Easter hymns focus on the disciples’ response to the astounding story that their beloved Master, Jesus Christ, was no longer dead but alive. This old hymn from France tells just that story.  (www.hymnary.com)

Good Christians all, rejoice and sing!  #205
not all dreams are equal: the fourteenth century mystic Heinrich Susa claimed that in one of his ecstatic visions, he danced with the angels while they sang this hymn. That’s a bit more exciting than a daydream about getting out of class early.  (www.hymnary.com)

The day of resurrection!  #210
this eighth-century hymn of celebration was traditionally sung at midnight on Easter in the Greek Church.  (www.hymnary.com)

To learn more of the hymns of the church, visit www.hymnary.com.
Dr. Jeannine Jordan is a church musician and concert organist.  She and her husband David are the creators and performers of three organ and multi-media concert experiences, Around the World in 80 Minutes, From Sea to Shining Sea, and Bach and Sons.



INSPIRATION: the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative

I draw my inspiration to lead worship from

  • The scriptures read by carefully prepared lectorsBible
  • The insightful homily
  • The prayers of the people
  • The serenity of the meticulously followed liturgy
  • The beauty and orderliness of our sanctuary thanks to our Altar Guild
  • And from You – the congregation — by your
    • quiet reverence during the prelude
    • energetic singing of the hymns
    • enthusiasm for an interesting postlude
    • joyous expression of thanks when a particular hymn or piece of music has inspired you

CrossINSPIRE: To fill with enlivening or exalting emotion

It is my hope that the music chosen, sung, and played for our worship inspires you. Not only in the service but in the week that follows. What inspires your worship? What fills you with an enlivening or exalting emotion?

  • The text of a hymn?St. Bede organ.jpg
  • The melody of a hymn?
  • The singing of a psalm?
  • The offering of music by our choir?
  • The prelude or postlude?


Dr. Jeannine Jordan, Minister of Music and Organist of St. Bede Episcopal Church in Forest Grove, Oregon is also a concert organist performing the organ and multi-media concert experiences, Bach and Sons and From Sea to Shining Sea.


Directions for Singing

As Paul wrote to the Colossians, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

As we consider the message of Paul, let’s also consider John Wesley’s Directions for Singing as we sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs in this New Year. John Wesley, an Anglican cleric and theologian, published in 1737 in Charlestown, South Carolina, one of the first hymnals in the English language prepared for use in public worship. In 1761, in the preface to yet another hymnal, Sacred Melody, John Wesley presented his Directions for Singing. (These may be a little 1761ish in tone, but they’re still apropos today.)


  • Sing lustily and with a good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength …
  • Sing ALL. See that you join with the congregation as frequently as you can …
  • Sing them exactly as they are printed here without altering or mending them at all …
  • “Learn these Tunes before you learn any others ….
  • Sing modestly. Do not bawl, so as to be heard above or distinct from the rest of the congregation, that you may not destroy the harmony …
  • Sing in Time. Whatever time is sung, be sure to keep with it. Do not run before nor stay behind it … and take care not to sing too slow…
  • Above all sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing Him more than yourself or any other creature.”

Dr. Jeannine Jordan is a teacher, church musician, and concert organist. She and her husband are the creators and performers of the organ and multi-media concert experiences, From Sea to Shining Sea and Bach and Sons.

Plan, Prepare, Present

Teaching a lesson yesterday I heard myself say, “You know – Christmas is on a Sunday this year.”  Yikes!  Spoken like a true church musician and teacher – always looking ahead, planning, preparing, and presenting music.  It’s quite the good life, isn’t it?

Yes, it’s that time of year for most people to make resolutions, set goals, challenge oneself.  But, for us organists, it’s that time of the year all year round!  For church musicians especially, those Sabbath days show up every 7 days and depending on your denomination, festival Sundays show up with an almost monthly frequency.  So, what’s a church musician to do?  PLAN, PREPARE, and PRESENT music in an ongoing rolling manner.

If you haven’t already done so, start PLANNING by taking out a calendar and making note of the church dates important to your congregation.  They might be Ash Wednesday (the start of Lent on February 10), Palm Sunday, Holy Week, Easter (this year on March 27), Pentecost, Reformation, Christ the King, Advent (begins on November 27), and yes even Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (this year on a Sunday).

Why do this?  Well, as organists and regular people too, life can get busy and these important church dates can creep up and surprise a person and then more often than not our music is not all it could be to enhance the worship of our congregations.  So, start the PLANNING by mapping out ideas for the solo music you’d like to play, the hymn settings and transitions and transpositions you’d like to include, and the music you may need to accompany.

Ah…you say, “I’m not a church organist but a student of the organ.”  And my reply is…”the idea of PLANNING, PREPARING, and PRESENTING works beautifully for anyone studying the organ.”  PLAN the music you’d like to learn and determine a date for the mastery of the concept or piece.  Will you perform the piece on our Spring Recital on May 7th?  Will you share it with family or friends?  Will you pass a section of the BYU course?  Will you fulfill a personal goal?

For all of us, church organist or student of the organ, the next step is to determine the method of  PREPARING the music.  What will your practice time look like?  How will you spend the minutes you’ve allotted for your organ study?  Will you practice hands and feet alone or in combinations?  Will you work on specific sections

of a piece?  Will you reward yourself by playing a “favorite” piece at the end of your practice session?

And, as always, the goal is to PRESENT your music to your congregation, your family, your friends, or even to record yourself.

So take an afternoon and design a MUSIC PLAN, so then you’ll know what and how much time you’ll need to PREPARE the music you’ve chosen, so you’ll be more than ready to PRESENT your music successfully and joyfully.

Dr. Jeannine Jordan is a teacher, church musician, and concert organist. She and her husband are the creators and performers of the organ and multi-media concert experiences, From Sea to Shining Sea and Bach and Sons.

4 Reasons Why a Busy Advent/Christmas Season is a Great Thing

by David Jordan

1.Listening to music releases Dopamine in the brain.

a.Valorie Salimpoor (2011) and her team conducted research that shows that listening to music can release the neurotransmitter dopamine. Even anticipating music can release dopamine.

b.People have favorite music that induces euphoria. Be aware of that.

c. Anticipating the pleasurable parts of music activates different areas of the brain and neurotransmitters than actually listening to and experiencing the music.

d.Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine also helps regulate movement and emotional responses, and it enables us not only to see rewards, but to take action to move toward them.

2.The more difficult something is to achieve; the more people like it.

a.Of course I would highly recommend that you do help them actually achieve it.

b. If you want people to join your community, choir, body, you might find that people put more value on it if there are steps that have to be taken to join. Filling out an application, meeting certain criteria, being invited by others — all of these can be seen as barriers to entry but they may also mean that the people who do join, are going to care more about the group.

3. People are more motivated as they get closer to a goal.

a.The goal-gradient effect says that you will accelerate your behavior as you progress closer to your goal.

b. People focus on what’s left more than what’s completed. People are focused on what’s left to accomplish. Perfect for advent/Christmas concerts and special services.  The shorter distance to the goal the more motivated people are to reach it. People are even more motivated when the end is in sight.

4.People are more motivated by intrinsic rewards than extrinsic rewards.

a. People want to the experience of learning and improving.

b.They are motivated when what they are doing helps connect with other people.

c. Heuristic work assumes the work itself provides intrinsic motivation through a sense of accomplishment.

I hope this will give a different perspective on what we often experience as just overwhelming. During the next several weeks, look for ways to create a more robust and excited choir, church, community, entity of MIPs (Musically Important People). People that are looking forward to every moment of participation in this glorious season.

Have a very Merry Christmas and Thank You.

David Jordan, media artist and Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist, are the creators and performers of the organ and multi-media concert experiences, Bach and Sons and From Sea to Shining Sea.  They are also church musicians.


Living Advent through Hymnody

The ubiquitous “sounds of Christmas” which surround us at every turn from mid-November on, are among the most powerful influences on us to think about Christmas, rather than Advent. “Christmas music” from Jingle Bells and Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer mixed in with Silent Night and Joy to the World fills every store, coffee shop, elevator, and office. Once one of those catchy tunes begins ringing in our ears and repeating again and again, it is difficult to get it out. Thus, one of the ways we can work on “living Advent” is to rediscover some of the rich hymnody of the Advent season.

Advent imageThe season of Advent looks back, to a time before the birth of Christ, to show us how the people of God learned hope in ancient times. And then the season of Advent looks forward, far beyond the birth of Christ, to the true object of our faith, the King who comes to conquer the darkness, restore creation, and establish his Kingdom forever.

Following is a sampling of the Advent hymns:advent hymn

Come, thou long expected Jesus (#66) is a Charles Wesley hymn, a gentle prayer to the infant King to enter our hearts and raise us to heaven. Although it was originally written as two stanzas of eight lines each, it has been set to the tune STUTTGART as four stanzas of four lines each.

On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry (#76) Although he does not have a feast day in Advent, John the Baptist is clearly one of the chief saints of Advent. He bridges the gap between the Old and New Testaments, proclaiming the traditional prophetic promise of the coming Messiah, and then pointing specifically to Jesus, the long-awaited fulfilment of that promise. This Latin hymn of the 18th century repeats the Baptist’s warning that repentance is a necessary precondition to participation in the coming salvation. The text is set to another early melody, WINCHSTER NEW.

Creator of the stars of night (#60) The Latin original of this hymn first appears in manuscripts of the ninth and tenth centuries. Both a plea for divine compassion and a hymn of praise to God the Creator, Redeemer, and Judge of fallen humanity, it is the office hymn in the monastic office of Vespers. The English translation of John Mason Neale was first published in 1851 and has been revised and updated several times. The plainsong melody, CONDITOR ALME SIDERUM, is the traditional tune associated with this hymn.

Herald, Sound the Note of Judgment (#76) The next for this “new to us” Advent hymn, was written by Moir A. J. Waters who was born in India and spent many years teaching at Indore Theological Seminary and evangelizing in nearby villages. After his retirement, he published three small collections of hymns including the Advent hymn, Herald, Sound the Note of Judgment. With the tune, HERALD, SOUND by Robert Powell of Greenville, South Carolina, this marvelous hymn made its first (and to date) – only hymnal appearance in The Hymnal 1982.

Comfort, comfort ye my people (#67) was written in German by Johannes G. Olearius (1611-1684) for the feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. The English translation by Catherine Winkworth was published in 1863. The text paraphrases Isaiah 40 and identifies the voice in the wilderness as John the Baptist. The lively, dance-like tune, PSALM 42, first appeared in the Genevan Psalter in the mid-1500s.

O come, O come, Emmanuel (#56) This ancient advent hymn originated in part from the “Great ‘O’ Antiphons,” part of the medieval Roman Catholic Advent liturgy. On each day of the week leading up to Christmas, one responsive verse would be chanted, each including a different Old Testament name for the coming Messiah. When we sing each verse of this hymn, we acknowledge Christ as the fulfillment of these Old Testament prophesies. We sing this hymn in an already-but not yet-kingdom of God. Christ’s first coming gives us a reason to rejoice again and again, yet we know that all is not well with the world. So along with our rejoicing, we plead using the words of this hymn that Christ would come again to perfectly fulfill the promise that all darkness will be turned to light. The original text created a reverse acrostic: “ero cras,” which means, “I shall be with you tomorrow.” That is the promise we hold to as we sing this beautiful hymn.

Dr. Jeannine Jordan is a church musician, teacher, and concert organist. Visit www.promotionmusic.org to learn more of her work.



The Mighty Ocean-Tone

The Mighty Ocean-Tone

From 1871-1873, Henry Ward Beecher, 19th century theologian, scholar, and hymn writer delivered several lectures in the Yale Lectures on Preaching series.  The lectures cover many topics other than preaching, including congregational singing and organs. Expressing the spiritual and ecclesial function of the organ in worship, Beecher provides the following metaphor:

“I am accustomed to think of a congregation with an organ as of a fleet of boats in the harbor, or on the waters.  The organ is the flood, and the people are the boats; and they are buoyed up and carried along upon its current as boats are borne upon the depths of the sea.  So, aside from mere musical reasons, there is this power that comes upon people, that encircles them, that fills them, this great, mighty ocean-tone; and that helps them to sing.”

So organists, put on your organ shoes, turn on the organ, and provide for your congregation the “great mighty ocean-tone” that fills their spirits, encircles them with power, and sets them free to sing God’s word.

Dr. Jeannine Jordan, church and concert organist, with David Jordan, media specialist, are the creators and performers of Bach and Sons and From Sea to Shining Sea.

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